Founder and CEO of Naturalicious Shares the Beauty of the PitchBy Yvelette Stines on November 10th, 2015 /
Founder and CEO of Naturalicious, Gwen Jimmere is the first African American woman to receive a patent for a natural hair care product helps other entrepreneurs raise money for their business. The Detroit native shares how it wasn’t always an easy path to getting there, and why she’s giving back to entrepreneurs along the way.
When Gwen Jimmere was pregnant with her son and watched he movie “Good Hair” she made some serious life changes about her beauty regimen.
“I realized that what I put on my skin and hair can affect what is inside of you, and I wanted to protect my son,” she explains. At the time she was working as an executive in marketing and decided to make natural products on the side. “I came from a very DIY household so I had a strong background in herbs, oils, and what to mix.”
Using her own products, she saw changes in her hair and others did as well. She noticed her hair was healthier, stronger, and longer for the first time her life. She continued to create products and people started to notice the changes and wanted to use the products too.
Jimmere was having fun creating beauty products, and it was a blessing in disguise that forced her to start her company Naturalicious. One day, her boss called her in the office and told her that her position was eliminated.
“My first thought was my survival, child, and mortgage. I wanted to be upset but deep down I couldn’t because I was praying for a clearance for God to show me when it was time to leave my job and start Naturalicious full time,” She said.
She realized there was no plan B and she had to hit the ground running, so she hit the ground running. Jimmere’s first big break was getting her products into Whole Foods. Now, the brand is in international markets including Trinidad and Indonesia. She has also made history as the first African American to receive a patent for a natural hair care product. With this honor, Jimmere is still hard at work and remaining humble. She understands many of the demands and stress that entrepreneurs have to raise money and sustain. This year she found a way to educate and help others. Now, she’s on her second company, co-founded Pitch Proof.
Jimmere has first-hand experience winning pitch competitions. She and her business partner Brian Williams joined together in May of this year to start Pitch Proof.
“We are a company that teaches small business owners and entrepreneurs how to raise money without going into debt. We teach them by preparing them for presenting and winning at pitch competitions and preparing pitches for potential investors,” she explains.
Pitch Proof starts with a 20 minute call that is a coaching session that will help you refine your pitch. Jimmere and Williams also have a 12-week course that will allow you to learn step-by-step how to prepare, present, and win pitch competitions and investment dollars. Participants in the course are sent weekly video training, assignments, and tips for both pitching for competitions and investment dollars.
“There is a big difference between the two and we train you to do both. When the class is over we are available to students for a year to help them hone and solidify their pitch that is tailored to their audience. Students also receive a list of all of the competitions throughout the country,” she says.
Jimmere is happy to help all business sustain success. “As a culture we generally are not trained in attaining money and raising capital. Studies have shown women and minorities are starting businesses with debt. I want to help change that story and help businesses grow.” As someone who has won a number of pitch competitions, her advice is to become a finalist.
“Your first goal to be a finalist, this is a platform that no one else has. Being in a pitch competition and a finalist you are telling everyone about your business. Some people in the audience can be customers, potential investors, or a retail partner. This is a way of networking that you can’t otherwise, even if you lose you never know who is watching and/or interested,” she said.
With two businesses, Jimmere is happy to give women the freedom to be beautiful and entrepreneurs the tools and education to raise money and help their businesses grow.